Offseason mission accomplished

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The Steelers concluded OTAs and minicamp under the impression that they accomplished what they needed to accomplish.

Or, at least, that they accomplished what they were able to accomplish given the limitations associated with football in shorts.

"I think so," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "It's kind of hard to work on the run game when you don't have pads on, so this spring has been a lot about throwing the ball. That's not necessarily who we're going to be offensively but it's who we have to be now."

The best photos from Stelers minicamp.

"Once we put the pads on and go to camp, then we can really work on our run game."

The defense, likewise, focused on what it was able to given the circumstances and emerged better for the experience.

"I think we made a lot of progress," free safety Mike Mitchell said. "For us it's just about putting in work every single day and trying to get better. These days are very valuable because we get a lot of meeting time.

"It's good to be around teammates working toward a common goal."

A foundation was also established on special teams.

"Just perfecting our craft, getting better with the techniques and just getting ready to go out there and execute, getting ready for the preseason," assessed safety Robert Golden, one of last season's special teams captains. "That's part of the reason why we're here, just to teach these (young) guys the techniques so they can be ready to excel when they get in the games.

"I feel like we're having a great time out here."

The introduction of rookies and less-experienced players wasn't limited to the kicking game.

"It's been a good time, getting used to the team and learning the plays, a great opportunity," No. 1 pick Bud Dupree said. "I'm getting used to the NFL system, the speed and everything. Everything's starting to click for me now.

"Right now I'm at the point where I just need to go out there and play."

Now that minicamp has concluded, the Steelers are off until July 25, when they're scheduled to report to St. Vincent College for training camp.

They'll know more about themselves and their collective capabilities then, but not everything they'll need to know beginning on Sept. 10 at New England.

"We're prepared but it's too early to say how our season's going to be and predict what we're going to do," defensive end Cam Heyward said. "Training camp is for that, we get the preseason and then you really have to see in the first (regular-season) game. A lot of that stuff can be misleading. There are teams that go 4-0 in the preseason that don't do anything in the regular season.

"You just have to take it for what it's worth and continue to get better."

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